Amazon Best of the Month, March 2008
: In Cross
, the sixth book in Ken Bruen's brutal and brilliant Jack Taylor series
, the Galway private investigator (think a more tortured and tragic--and Irish--Jack Reacher
) is on the hunt for a psychopath, while his surrogate son/mentee, victim of a shooting meant to kill Jack, lies near death in a hospital. Fair warning: even for Bruen fans, this is seriously dark stuff (the killer crucifies one victim and burns another alive), brimming with violence, guilt, and a brooding morality akin to the best of Dennis Lehane. We have been in love with Bruen's sharp, spare prose since first stumbling across The Killing of the Tinkers
, and we're certain that his dark, reluctant hero will draw many a hard-boiled fan from the likes of Jim Thompson and James Ellroy, as well new favorites Charlie Huston and Duane Swierczynski. --Daphne Durham
Questions for Ken Bruen
Amazon.com: Now that youve been writing about him for six books, how do you approach a new Jack Taylor novel. Do you think "I'm going to make this darker and grislier than the last?"
Bruen: I mostly think about how I'm going to keep him fresh and interesting and deepen his character, I don't deliberately try to be dark, it's the way he is.
Amazon.com: What is the best thing about writing about a character like Jack Taylor? Who would win in a fight, Brant or Taylor?
Bruen: He continually surprises me and I get to see how deep the abyss can be. Brant would easily win the fight: Jack would be getting ready and Brant would just instantly take him down.
Amazon.com: Clearly you are a big reader, you reference books so often in your novels. What books or authors do you find yourself recommending to readers again and again?
Bruen: C.J. Box, Jason Starr, Daniel Woodrell, Megan Abbot, and Vicki Hendricks are among my favorites.
Amazon.com: Is there an author or artist you've read or listened to lately whose work surprised or inspired you?
Bruen: Elizabeth Zelvin is the light to Jack's dark. Craig McDonald wrote a hell of a debut. Alex Sokoloff scares the living daylights out of me. Louise Ure...she is just poetry in motion. Tom Piccirilli--the man is noir personified. Alan Flynn is going to be huge and find lots of readers outside of Scotland.
Amazon.com: If you had to give up books or music for one year which would you give up?
Bruen: Music. I can live with silence but...no reading? Shoot me now.
Amazon.com: How would you describe your work to someone who has no idea what you do?
Bruen: Imagine terrible circumstances that will make you laugh out loud and then want to hang yourself. Best of all, when you're a writer, you can read the work with little effort; it comes over like a chat in your favorite pub. It's like a kick in the head and a blast of Jameson, no ice, with a group of friends who are going to keep you right on the edge.
(photo credit: Andrew Downes)
Starred Review. In Shamus-winner Bruen's brilliant sixth Jack Taylor novel (after 2007's Priest
), the tormented Galway detective feels like a ghost in a newly prosperous city that little resembles his birthplace. Years of alcoholic dissipation have taken their toll. Jack's apprentice and surrogate son, Cody, lies in hospital, the victim of bullets meant for Jack. His only real friend is Ridge, a lesbian Ban Gardai
(female cop), and their relationship is a complicated mixture of affection and hostility. Jack decides to cut his losses and move to America, but first he agrees to help Ridge solve a series of heinous murders. A young man's crucifixion is followed by his sister being burned to death. As Jack investigates, he squares off against a 20-year-old girl whose grief over her religious fanatic mother's death in a hit-and-run accident has become a black insanity that demands biblical vengeance. Bruen riffs on different meanings and implications of the word cross
throughout, and his insights into pain, loss and Irishness are unforgettable. (Mar.)
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